Neighborhood Officers from 32 Division took several youths of Somalian background from Neptune and Lawrence Heights neighbourhoods to Royal Ontario Museum.
These youths have never seen any exhibits at ROM but because of the Somali grant from the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services, these youths had an opportunity to see and enjoy the rich Chinese exhibits currently showcased at the ROM alongside Constables Omar McDoom, Mir Lodhi, Wayne Clarke and Ricardo Burke.
Alexia, who grew up at Lawrence Heights, was amazed about the current exhibit, especially that tools used for construction in past are still being used in modern times.
"Before the trip, I have had no previous interaction with police but this trip has opened my eyes on the value of police and community relationships," she said.
Lodhi said officers put together these trips to mentor kids.
"This youth outreach initiative not only established a good relationship with community members of Lawrence Height s and Neptune communities but also made Neighborhood Officers’ role models to the community especially to the youths."
Divisional Police Support Unit Sergeant Bassey Osagie, who helped put together the outing along with Staff Sergeant Ron Boyce, said police are reaching out to members of the Somali community more than ever.
”The Somali Community Outreach Initiative has definitely bridged the gap between the police and our community especially with the Neighbourhood officers program. The grant has provided us with opportunity to engage the youth in activities other than policing. This engagement has fostered positive relationships that are vital to community safety”.
Superintendetn Selwyn Fernandes, of 32 Division, said trips like this opens doors for youth.
"This program gives an opportunity to youth to explore the vibrant city that they live in. The program also teaches the youth etiquette in shopping, eating at restaurants, using public transportation and talking to people not within their group age. The success of this initiative should be available to every young person as it prepares them to experience life in a vibrant multi-cultural city which they belong to."